Steven Zhangs’ creditors are asking that a Hong Kong court ruling in July of last year be recognised in Italy so that they can attempt to recover a €250m debt. The ruling found in the favour of various banking institutions where the Inter president had personally guaranteed various loans and a bond to the value of €250m.
Calcio e Finanza reported previously that Zhang risked up to three months in jail for failure to repay the debt and now write that the banks are ready to proceed with the executive action of the ruling, with the request for recognition of the ruling in Italy as well, since Zhang had until September to proceed with an appeal in the Chinese Special Administrative Region against the July ruling.
If the Hong Kong ruling is also recognized in Italy, Chinese creditor banks would have a green light to get their hands on any assets in Italy that are traceable to the Inter president. The creditors are also not giving up on the lawsuit filed in the civil court requesting the annulment of the minutes of the board of directors of the Nerazzurri club by which it was determined that Zhang does not receive compensation for his position as president.
The petition has been assigned to the Specialized Business Section of the Milan court. The first hearing, initially scheduled for March 8, was then moved to Wednesday, April 19. A total of seven Chinese banking institutions have claims against Steven Zhang. The lead one is China Construction Bank, one of the four state-owned banking giants in the People’s Republic of China, an institution with which Great Matrix Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Zhang himself, had closed the deal.
During the proceedings, the Inter presiden had disavowed the transaction. In his defence, Zhang reiterated that the signatures on the refinancing guarantee documents had been forged and that he had no knowledge of the transaction. This claim, however, was rejected by the judge.
The creditors’ offensive is becoming global, however. Italy is not the only country where Chinese lenders are trying to retaliate against the Nerazzurri patron, besides the one in Hong Kong. The China Construction Bank has in fact opened a legal front in the United States as well, with a request to the New York court for the green light to obtain several documents related to the relations between Steven Zhang and several entities including, Goldman Sachs and Oaktree.